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Logline: After her best friend starts dating her older brother, high school junior Nadine feels more alone than ever.

Kelly Fremon Craig’s directorial debut The Edge of Seventeen is one of the most honest teen films to come along in decades.  With a winning script from James L. Brooks, The Edge of Seventeen avoids all of the cliches that plague many films of this nature and feels undeniably real.

All of the characters are complex and interesting.  Hailee Steinfeld is excellent as Nadine, who is as awkward as they come.  Blake Jenner is also great as Nadine’s older brother Darian, who transcends the trappings of his jock image to show a deeper side.  Woody Harrelson steals the show as Nadine’s history teacher, Mr. Bruner.  Both Nadine and Mr. Bruner have a certain unspoken respect for one another and their banter is hilarious.

The Edge of Seventeen successfully captures the awkwardness of being a teenager.  It is smart, funny, and features great performances.  The Edge of Seventeen is one of the most interesting films of 2016 and should not be missed.

Rating (out of ****): ***1/2